Favorite quote: “You don’t forget the face of the person who was your last hope.”
I am WAY late to the party with this one, but I finally read The Hunger Games this year. I’m 99% sure everyone on earth has already read this book, but in case you haven’t, The Hunger Games is a dystopian thriller that takes place in post-apocalyptic North America. The nation of Panem is divided into 12 districts ruled by the oppressive Capitol. Every year, the government forces each district to send two teenagers, randomly picked via lottery, to participate in a fight to the death that’s broadcasted on live TV for the entertainment of the Capitol citizens. It sounds pretty messed up, but that’s kind of the point. Katniss Everdeen, our main character, lives in District 12, and the book opens with District 12’s reaping ceremony, where the tributes to this year’s Hunger Games will be picked. To have your name drawn in the reaping is an almost certain death sentence. So when Katniss’s innocent little sister is chosen, Katniss volunteers to take her place with the universally quoted line, “I volunteer as tribute!” Katniss is determined to survive, even if the odds will never be in her favor, but only one person can make it out of the arena alive…
This book is a real page-turner, so if you love plot-driven action novels you will definitely enjoy it. I couldn’t put it down. I really loved Katniss’s character; she is strong, intelligent, down-to-earth and independent, and unlike many YA heroines, she isn’t boy-crazy. It wasn’t a 5-star read for me, though, because it seemed a little underdeveloped. The best books are the ones that make you think, and although The Hunger Games deals with issues like desensitization to violence, lack of compassion for other people, and the impact of vanity and shallowness, its message was a little subtle. The plot seemed designed mostly to grab the attention of readers looking for an exciting story, and it was extremely fast-paced. This isn’t a bad thing, but I wish Collins took more time to explore the societal issues reflected in her dystopian universe. And then there’s the violence: be warned that this is a violent book and there is a lot of blood, guts, and gore. Nothing too bad, but it gets kind of graphic. Overall, though, The Hunger Games was a good read and I’d recommend it for anyone interested in sci-fi, action or dystopia.